"We the undersigned wish to make it known that we believe the award of a knighthood to the internationally maverick and outspoken psychiatrist Simon Wessely, whose views on several serious illnesses are seen to be patently wrong, and are widely abhorred by the experienced patients he purports to want to help, brings the whole honours system into disrepute, and should be withdrawn before the progress of real science, makes finally clear to all, the folly of his particular and peculiar sickness beliefs."
I have mixed feelings on this petition. I've not signed it, and I'm not going to.
I do not like Simon Wessely anymore than the next person with M.E.. I do not like his views, I don't like his trials, I don't like the way in which he's manipulated the medias view on our illness, and I do not like the way in which he's labelled himself as a victim because he's been criticised. Every scientist receives criticism; I've never heard of any of them claiming victimisation because of it though. Wessely is a nasty piece of work whose first priority is his reputation, and second priority is protecting his research. His patients don't even factor.
So when I see that he is nominated for a knighthood I am not happy. Not impressed. It shouldn't have happened. As it happens I actually like our Queen. She gives off good vibes. It's not her fault that she was born into monarchy. I certainly don't support the abolition of the monarchy. I feel very sorry for her that she has to be in the same room with The Weasel though. I would like to think that there was some chance of her doing the research behind knighthoods, but in reality someone else will do that. No doubt it Simon minions who nominated him. It certainly wouldn't have been any legitimate M.E. doctor, or an M.E. patient.
But I can't make myself sign it. Professor Wessley has gone out of his way to label people with M.E. as being crazy. He hasn't merely claimed that M.E. is a mental illness, but because people object they are crazy. He's over-exaggerated the number of people who complain, and the manner in which they complain. He overplays his hand. He knows he has more power than any of us will ever have. It must be fun to kick people when they're down.
I do not want my name associated with this petition. I don't want to be among those he sees as victimising him. I don't wish to give him that pleasure. He doesn't know me from Adam of course.
The fact that the petition is worded badly is besides the point. I could pick it apart easily, making it clear why it would never get anywhere, legally, but that isn't my point, unusually. The point is that the truth will out eventually. Wessely will be seen, by history, as a very nasty man. He'll be seen as someone who deliberately prevented very sick people from being treated. With any luck biomedical research will show this within our lifetimes, and have him called up on it. But again, not my point.
My point? What is a knighthood? These days it doesn't actually mean anything. It's an ego boost for him. It will mark him in history. And because of who he is, he will be remembered as being a creep. That isn't what he has aimed for, obviously, so by being knighted I feel he's stabbing himself in the foot really.